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Teacher Wisdom August Back to School Tips

Back to School TipsThe sharpening of pencils.  The passing out of textbooks.  The perfectly white whiteboard.  The new bulletin board borders.  It can only mean one thing…its’ Back to School!  It’s an exciting time and I just wanted to pass along some Teacher Wisdom for making Back to School successful for you and your students.

All the bloggers participating in this series hope to pass along our Teacher Wisdom to get you excited about the new school year.  So in this post, you’ll read about a Something Old BTS Tip, a Something New BTS Tip, a Something Borrowed BTS Tip and a Something True BTS Tip.

Click READ MORE below to see the entire post.


Something Old
One BTS tradition I have kept up for many years, is having all my new students walk in to their new classroom and have a letter waiting for them.  The letter was written by my last year’s third graders at the end of the year.  They wrote a nice friendly letter to welcome the new student to third grade…and scare the bejeezus out of them telling them all the things they will be learning about…just kidding.  In the letter, the students gave the new students advice on doing homework, learning the multiplication tables, games to play during recess, etc.  The students wrote the letters on a lined piece of paper and some included drawings.  It’s a great way to calm nerves when your new students walk in to their new class.

Back To School Tips
Welcome Letter to new Third Graders

Something New
This is something my grade level team started about 2 years ago. Pencil boxes or pencil pouches!  We all know what happens when parents get ahold of the classroom supply list.  They buy their child the biggest pencil box the size of a suitcase, fill it with materials and supplies we will never use, and send their child to school on the first day without a pencil.  Seriously, I had gotten a little tired of students having these huge pencil boxes filled with everything BUT pencils.  So for the past 2 years,  my grade level gets together and purchases a pencil case (NOT BOX) or a pencil pouch (this year pencil pouches!) to give to every child.  We fill it with what we believe is necessary:

  • pencils
  • an eraser
  • a glue stick
  • a pair of scissors
  • a box of crayons 
  • a blue pen, a red pen
  • a small pink eraser for pencil top
Back to School Tips
On the first day of school, many students show up with their suitcase…er..pencil box.

That’s it. What else do you need? Not 40 Crayola markers, not a super sized eraser that looks like a Minion, not mechanical pencils, not glitter, not..well, you get my point.  What’s great about this system, is that not only does it keep the students focused on learning, but they can carry it with them when we team teach or switch for RtI.  If students do show up with a suitcase pencil box and tons of supplies, I graciously accept their “donations” to the community classroom and tell them to take the suitcase/box home and use those supplies for doing homework. 

Something Borrowed

If you read my previous post, you know that I will be implementing ClassDojo again this year but with a twist. You can read my post about that HERE.  However, I am borrowing a great idea from!  During the year, the novelty of ClassDojo wears off.  So as a good Sensei, I am going to use the ClassDojo 100 Point Club as an incentive to keep my students motivated to earn those points through good behavior and study skills.  You can see this great idea HERE.  By the way, I just learned that ClassDojo has implemented ClassDojo Group Points.  Now you can group students by teams and award them team points!  Great idea! 

Back to School Tips
Download your Back to School ClassDojo Freebie HERE!

Something True

No matter how hard you try, you just can’t fit it all in on the first day…or even the first week.  As a teacher, we almost always certainly over plan and schedule too much on the first day.  But that’s ok.  It’s better to have extra than to fall short and there’s 20 minutes more before the bell rings for dismissal!  When you make your plans for each day, highlight what is a MUST DO, and that way even if you don’t get through it all, your MUST DO has been accomplished.  The rest can be moved to another day.  That way, you won’t sweat it if you don’t get it all in…and you’ll probably impress your administrator with your ability to prioritize.  

I wish you good luck and success on a new school year!  Check back at the beginning of every month to read more Teacher Wisdom.


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